Workers' comp seems like a relatively simple concept – until you actually need to use it. Most workers in Colorado are only vaguely aware that this system provides some kind of protection if they ever get injured on the job. But when they actually suffer these injuries, they're suddenly confronted with the complexity of this system. Needless to say, more than a few questions may arise as injured workers attempt to navigate this system. The good news is that most of these questions have already been asked and answered. Injured workers tend to experience the same issues, and they tend to have the same questions. Here are a few FAQs to help you understand how workers' compensation works in Colorado:
Is Workers' Compensation the Same in Every State?
No, workers' compensation is actually slightly different in each state. Each state has its own specific rules. Although the core concept is the same, the details do matter. For example, each state might have different rules about the minimum number of employees at a location that trigger requirements for workers' comp insurance. They might also have requirements related to the distinction between “casual employees” or independent contractors and “normal employees.”
States have their own rules regarding exclusions or exclusions to workers' comp coverage. For example, Colorado states that you cannot claim workers' comp benefits if you were intoxicated when the accident occurred. On that same note, different states have different regulations when it comes to drug testing. Colorado also has its own system related to whether injured workers can choose their own health provider to treat their injuries.
Which Medical Professionals are Covered Under Workers' Comp?
In Colorado, you need to visit a doctor that your employer approves. If you disregard this system and simply choose a doctor that you choose without approval, you could lose access to workers' comp benefits. In Colorado, you typically receive a list of at least four approved physicians from your employer after the injury. You can then choose one from this list. As long as you follow this system, you can get the compensation and treatment that you need to recover as best as possible. If your employer never gives you a list of approved physicians, then you can visit any doctor you like. That being said, you must be assessed by a qualified medical professional. You will not receive any compensation for visits to chiropractors, naturopaths, and other “specialists.”
How Much Money Can I Get for Permanent Total Disability?
If you have suffered an injury that prevents you from ever working again, you can file for something called “permanent total disability.” This will provide you with compensation for your lost wages for the rest of your working years. When you reach the age of 65, these benefits will stop. You will then need to explore other sources of compensation, such as SSDI. One thing to keep in mind is that you will only receive two-thirds of the wages you would have continued to earn.
Can I Still Work While Receiving Workers' Comp Benefits?
Yes, you can still work if you receive benefits for permanent partial disability. This type of injury may permanently affect your ability to work, but it does not prevent you from doing any work whatsoever. Your employer may be able to set you up with a different job or a different role. For example, you could answer the phone instead of doing physical labor. This type of compensation continues for a limited amount of time, but it does not prevent you from continuing to work.
What if My Spouse Died During a Workplace Accident?
If your spouse died in a workplace accident, the benefits that your spouse would have received from a workers' comp claim fall to you instead. These benefits continue until you die or remarry. Children also receive benefits until they reach the age of 18. If they continue as a full-time student, they can receive benefits into their college years until they reach the age of 21. These workers' comp benefits may not cover emotional distress and other non-economic damages, but they can cover missed wages, unpaid medical expenses, and in some cases, funeral expenses.
What Does MMI Stand for?
MMI stands for “Maximum Medical Improvement.” This concept is important because once you reach your MMI, doctors agree that your condition will not get much better. It is, therefore, a good idea to wait until you reach your MMI to claim benefits, as the extent of your disability might not be clear until this point.
What Steps Should I Take After My Accident?
The first step is to get medical attention for your accident. If you do not get medical attention, it will be very difficult to prove that your injuries are legitimate. The next step should be to officially report your injury to your employer in writing. You should do this within 10 working days. Next, you can file a claim with help from a qualified attorney. Wait to hear back about the status of your claim and appeal any denials with help from your lawyer. You should also take the time to become aware of all benefits that you are eligible for.
Who Can Help With My Workers' Comp Claim in Colorado?
If you need help with your workers' comp claim in Colorado, look no further than the Law Office of Casey James Alexander, LLC. Over the years, we have helped numerous injured workers in Colorado fight for the compensation they deserve. One of the best things about being an American worker is the level of protection you are guaranteed if you become injured. Many other countries do not offer this type of security to their workforce. That being said, the only way to enjoy these protections is to fight for them. If you are encountering issues or your claim has been denied, it makes sense to reach out to us at your earliest convenience and book a consultation. We can help you appeal denied claims and fight for your rights as a worker in Colorado. Reach out today.